Friday, 15 July 2011

Interview with Michael D. Knight

Michael D. Knight is a graphic artist who originally started out, many years ago, as a traditional artist - painting, illustrating and making models from scratch. He built props and miniatures, for a few years, for low-budget film companies.  When computers began taking over the industry, he felt it was time to learn how to produce digital art.  He did this the hard way, without the benefit of any professional instruction. Because of his love of model making, Michael eventually got into 3D art. He has created book cover art, and much of his work has been published in magazines and books. Michael discussed having a fond interest in subjects such as science fiction, Gothic horror, UFOs & the paranormal, all of which, he feels, have had a profound influence on his work.

1.     Tell us about your artwork.

Over the years it has gone through many changes. I started off doing miniatures for independent film. A lot of my artwork is sci-fi themed but I do branch out quite a bit into other themes, like comical and gothic works. A lot of my sci-fi works are UFO and paranormal influenced.

2.     Why did you choose digital art, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Working as a traditional artist, I felt very limited. It took technology many years before it got to a level where I could use it in the ways I do now. I like how much more freedom I have with the digital tools. I find I can create many different styles, depending on my mood, or what I am looking to achieve. I've always hoped that the digital world would make my work more successful, so far, ‘yes’ and ‘no’... I'm still a starving, struggling artist; but I do it because it's what I love, and it feeds my soul.

3.     Is there an underlying theme or message in your work?

In many of my UFO & Gothic works, I would have to say ‘yes’. Although, precisely WHAT that message is, quite often eludes even me; but I feel very much compelled to create them, so I feel there must be something important to that.

4.     I was very impressed to learn that you are a self-taught graphic artist. Tell us about your learning process, and particularly how your work evolved as a result of it.

Thank you. It has been a very long and, quite often, difficult road having to sort of muddle through and learn the many different applications. I have seen my work take on many changes, since the beginning. And looking back over some of my older work, I see things I would have perhaps done differently NOW, knowing what I know now. I sometimes think about revisiting some of my older work, with that in mind; but there is always something new to create.

5.     Of the artwork you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular work?

Hmmm, that is a tough one. I have so many favourites, but I guess if I had to pick one, off the top of my head, I would have to say it would be a sci-fi piece I did entitled ‘Coming in Hot’. I quite often look at that particular piece and think, “Man you can almost hear the roar of the engines!”

6.     How is creating science fiction and fantasy art different from creating other genres?

I think with sci-fi, it allows much more freedom of imagination and allows me to create whatever I want. Whereas, creating things like say 3D objects of normal everyday items, I feel sort of locked into making sure it looks a certain way. But with sci-fi, I can pull out all the stops and just go nuts.

7.     What do you find most rewarding in the creative process?

I would have to say looking at a finished piece and feeling very satisfied and somehow accomplished. Especially if it something that has turned out very well, or even better, than originally planned.

8.     What do you find most challenging in the creative process, and how do you overcome it?

I think, even to this day, I still have trouble getting ‘life’ into a lot of my stuff. I guess, what I mean, is trying to put people or characters into my work. As far as overcoming it, it's still very much an ongoing thing with me, I think.

9.     What have you done to promote and market your artwork, and what advice would you give to other artists?

This has always been a difficulty, even to this day. I try and get my stuff onto as many sites like RedBubble, CafePress, Zazzle, deviantArt and many others. I would strongly recommend other artist to do the same. It's a great way, to not only get your work out there, but also a chance to make a little coin in the process.

10.  Who, do you imagine, would be your ideal client?

George Lucas, LOL.  One can dream.  But in all seriousness, anyone who greatly appreciates my work is welcome.

11.  What advice would you give to help others build the skill and confidence required to produce digital art?

Although it can be very frustrating at times, I would say, “Never give up and just keep at it, determination, and a whole boatload of patience, eventually goes a long way.”

12.  What aspirations, or reservations, do you have regarding your art being used in film and television?

Ever since I was very young, I always wanted to get involved in that sort of thing. I get a great kick out of occasionally seeing my work in a TV commercial or film project; although I would love to be more directly involved in that type of work.

13.  Tell us a little about any good art you’ve seen recently.

Almost every day I see amazing works on deviantArt and in the ‘Today’s Best’ on Zazzle.

14.  What are you doing now?
Lately I've been working on a lot of simple vector art of food items, comical stuff and some sci-fi stuff. All simple vector shape stuff, as I noticed that it is an area that I've been lacking in on my T-shirt sites. So I've been trying to beef up that sort of thing lately.

15.  Describe your art in one sentence.

Not sure I can, it's too multi-themed and styled to describe that way, at least for me, anyway.

16.  Where can we find you and your art?

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